You probably have at least one friend or relative who has developed memory problems or dementia due to aging. Memory issues are understandably distressing to the people who experience them and the family members who must witness the decline of a loved one.
If one or both of your parents or grandparents had dementia or Alzheimer's disease, you may be wondering if it's only a matter of time until you experience the same symptoms. Medications can be helpful in decreasing symptoms and improving memory, but they may cause unpleasant side effects. Acupuncture offers a natural way to improve your memory and prevent a decline in cognitive function.
Why does memory loss and dementia occur?
Aging doesn't just turn your hair gray and cause arthritic joints, but may also affect your brain. Although most people notice a slight decline in mental functioning as they grow older, others experience a much more serious problem than occasional forgetfulness.
Alzheimer's disease and dementia are responsible for dramatic changes in cognitive functioning that can make it hard to remember how to operate a TV remote or recognize old friends. These changes occur due to the death of brain cells in both Alzheimer's disease and some forms of dementia. More than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease, a number that the Alzheimer's Association expects to increase to 16 million by 2050.
How Can I Keep My Memory Sharp?
Whether you're concerned about the prospect of developing Alzheimer's disease in the future or simply want to improve your memory now, acupuncture treatments can help. Acupuncture not only offers an effective way to relieve aches and pains, reduce high blood pressure, treat stress and decrease asthma flare ups, but it also important cognitive benefits.
Researchers in a study covered by Health CMI noted that mice that received electroacupuncture treatments improved spatial memory and learning, and experienced improved glucose metabolism in the hippocampus of the brain. Glucose is a natural form of sugar that provides energy to all parts of your body, while the hippocampus plays an important role in memory retrieval.
Chinese researchers explored the benefits of acupuncture on mild cognitive impairment, a condition that can eventually become Alzheimer's disease. They discovered that research participants who received acupuncture treatments performed better on mini-mental state exams and picture recognition than those who didn't receive the treatment.
What Happens During an Acupuncture Treatment?
Before any needles are placed in your body, you and your acupuncture practitioner will discuss your symptoms, your lifestyle, medical history, diet, and stress level. The discussion will help him or her develop the most effective treatment plan for you.
Inserting thin acupuncture needles into your body relieves blockages of Qi, the vital life force that travels throughout your body. Improving Qi flow is instrumental to improving your cognitive functioning and memory. In some cases, a gentle electric current may be attached to the needles to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. Although acupuncture treatment may sound painful, the needles are no thicker than a human hair. You may feel a slight pricking or aching sensation when the needles are inserted, but probably won't find the treatment to be painful.
If you've seen an acupuncture treatment in a TV show or movie, it may appear as if the needles are placed randomly in the body. In reality, needles are inserted in meridians that correspond to the various parts of the body. Meridians may be located far from the affected body part. If you are receiving acupuncture treatments to improve your memory, acupuncture needles may be placed in your scalp, but might also be inserted in other parts of your body. For example, when memory problems are caused by issues with the kidney-adrenal network, inserting acupuncture needles in the hand or ear can help restore balance and improve concentration, analytical thinking and short-term memory.
Your practitioner may also recommend dietary changes and a selection of herbs that will help boost your memory. Herbs such as salvia and gingkgo can improve short-term memory, delay mental changes caused by Alzheimer's disease, improve glucose utilization, improve circulation and decrease agitation.
Have you been looking for a way to keep your memory sharp? Acupuncture can help you improve your mental functioning naturally. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.
Alzheimer's Association: 2017 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures
Health CMI:Acupuncture For Alzheimer’s Memory and Brain Function, 2/24/17
Acupuncture in Medicine:
Acupuncture Today: The Herbal Approaches to Treating Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, 4/03